The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has recently approved the grant proposal of UNESCO-IHE, Meta Meta and ICRAF for spate irrigation for rural economic growth. The 2015-2017 project focuses on network strengthening among and with farmers, improve education on flood-based farming and research for development in Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan and Ethiopia. Abraham Mehari Haile, Senior Lecturer in Land & Water Development at UNESCO-IHE elaborates.
With the grant of 1.200.000 USD, UNESCO-IHE and partners aim to develop flood-based farming policies and programmes based on action research and documented practical experiences. The results should contribute in an evidence based manner to rural poverty alleviation and accelerated growth in marginal areas in four countries.
Abraham Mehari Haile: "The first phase of the project which we implemented in 2011, was positively evaluated by IFAD. We made a good start with mainstreaming spate irrigation in the educational system of the four targeted countries. In addition, we increased contact with farmers and informed them about spate irrigation and flood-based farming and focused our research on societal impact. The website www.spate-irrigation.org increased its membership from 200 to 800 subscribers".
With this new grant, IFAD would like to see further development in education and research on hybrid design models and guidelines for flood based farming in the four countries. Secondly, the the aim is to expand the activities from 4 to 8 countries, allowing sharing experiences between Africa and Asia.
"In the coming three years we aim to strenghten the capacity of our local partners. One of them has already been asked to make a spate irrigation assessment in Kenya and Uganda. In addition, we aim to develop a joint MSc programme on spate irrigation with one of the universities in either Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen or Pakistan", says Abraham Mehari Haile.
he partners UNESCO-IHE, Meta Meta and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) equally share responsibility in the project and will each be leading one of the project components (research for development, education and network strengthening). UNESCO-IHE will focus on research due to its wide MSc and PhD student base.